Ecommerce is one of the fastest evolving industries, not only in terms of technology but also user expectations. New processes and tools are bringing about significant changes to just about every aspect of eCommerce, from online payment gateways to logistics to user experience design. With that, consumer demands are growing, and it is becoming increasingly important to provide an online shopping environment that drives satisfaction.
With so much innovation enabling new levels of convenience and efficiency for both online merchants and consumers, 2018 is sure to be a defining moment for the industry. With the year still in its infancy, experts are setting their sights on what trends will be big in the coming months.
Certain eCommerce trends of the past have gone on to become the staple of eCommerce. For example, mobile shopping and checkout were the talk of the town in 2016 and 2017, and is expected to gain an even stronger foothold in 2018. But, there are some other developments gaining traction, and here’s a closer look at the few that will most likely shape the year ahead
Show, don’t tell
Google Images and image-based apps will play a bigger role in product searches. Visual shopping – together with voice search – is demanding a bigger segment of the market. Now that image analysis automation is a fundamental feature of mobile devices, customers have the ability to take a picture of a product and conduct a reverse image search on Google or receive product information via visual search apps. Online merchants need to consider optimising their products for image search as well as establishing a stronger presence on image-based networks such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
One shopping experience to rule them all
This is the year that eCommerce businesses will seriously start to invest in integrated platforms. With the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses are more empowered than ever to provide seamless experiences across offline and online platforms and accommodate the exponential growth of consumers who start their journey on one device and end it on a different one.
“But, Daddy I want it NOW”
With major international retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay having already introduced same-day delivery to the mainstream, consumers will expect nothing less than seeing their package on their doorstep within 24-hours. Drone delivery is inching closer to reality, but for now, these companies are relying on local delivery companies to ensure orders are delivered faster than ever.
For 2018, South African online shopping sites wanting to step up their logistics game, should look into contracting a low-cost courier service to meet the new demand for faster shipping.
Consumers will be spoilt for payment choice
While EFT payments and the ability to process card payments online remain popular, payment gateway providers this year will look to expand their offerings. Online merchants are finding themselves uniquely positioned to take advantage of diversified payment methods such as cryptocurrencies, one-click payments, subscription payments, and even a buy-now-pay-later option. It's expected more eCommerce stores will start embracing these systems as consumers seek the convenience of alternative payments. Business owners should consult their online payment solution in South Africa to find out if they will be offering any additional payment methods this year.
eCommerce chores will be put on autopilot
Automation software carry out processes with little to no input from employees, helping your business save time, money and increase efficiency. Automation is particularly effective for mundane tasks, such as changing profile pictures on all social channels, that may interfere with your daily productivity. But, it can also streamline complex process such as customer support, website analytics, and inventory management. While automation has been a trend for several years now, what sets 2018 apart is that this year, online businesses will fully embrace them as the next revolution in eCommerce.
eCommerce is a constantly-shifting environment where online merchants must stay on top of the latest trends and expectations to keep themselves competitive. This year, it’s all about maximising performance, building stronger relationships with customers, and creating work spaces that foster productivity.